This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976
This is a shared entry with Philip Russell
Philip Russell (1822?-1892) and Thomas (1828-1920), flock-masters and politicians, were sixth and seventh sons of the fourteen children of James Russell (1768-1839), tenant of Kincraig farm, Fife, Scotland, and his wife Elizabeth, née Couper. They were cousins of Philip and George, William, Rev. Robert and Alexander Russell who had all migrated to Australia by 1842.
In August Philip Russell, who had farmed at Beanston East Lothian, sailed for Hobart Town in the Calcutta with his cousins Robert Simson and Philip Russell senior who was returning to the colonies in charge of his 11-year-old niece Annie Lewis. In early 1843 they crossed to Port Phillip as partners and in March, at a Melbourne auction, for £950 cash they bought from the insolvent estate of J. D. Baillie 3500 sheep with lambs given in, and the right to Carngham station, 30,000 acres (12,141 ha) south of Lake Burrumbeet. Such prosperity dawned that Simson spent most of 1848-49 in Britain, returning with his younger brother John and with Thomas Russell. In January 1851 the new chums and Philip Russell, who had remained at Carngham, bought from James Austin what became the Barunah Plains station, west of Geelong. John Simson and Philip Russell soon withdrew, but three British-based Russell brothers became constituents of Thomas Russell & Co. Early in 1857 Thomas acquired the adjoining Ponds or Wurrook station, which became his headquarters.
Philip Russell and Simson designed their Carngham cottage for two couples. Both married in 1851 when Russell took his bride Annie Lewis to Scotland, while Simson took charge at Carngham. In 1853 the partners separated and Philip Russell took Carngham over.
On 23 August 1860 at Berriedale, Tasmania, Thomas Russell married Anna Louisa Parsons. He was elected councillor and first president of Leigh Shire in 1862, and in 1868-73 was member for Grenville in the Legislative Assembly. In 1869-75 and 1880-86 Philip held the seat of South Western Province in the Legislative Council. Both brothers were prominent Presbyterians.
In January 1873 Thomas left with his wife and six children in the Baroda for England. He returned to Victoria about 1887 and in 1889 contested South Western Province, but from about 1900 settled in England permanently, where he died on 6 July 1920 as owner of Haremere Hall, Hurst Green, Sussex. His English estate was valued at £77,474 and his estate in Victoria at £61,368. He had been elected F.R.G.S. in 1875.
Philip Russell gravitated to Melbourne, where his wife died at Chiverton, St Kilda, on 22 June 1869 leaving two sons: James, who inherited Carngham, and George, who inherited Langi Willi station (acquired by his father in 1859) and was member for Grenville in the Legislative Assembly in 1892-1900. In 1877 at Kilrie, Fifeshire, Scotland, Philip married a distant cousin, Mary Ann Carstairs Drysdale, niece of Anne Drysdale; she died on 28 March 1878, a week after the birth of their only son Philip, who was later killed in the Boer war. Philip (father) was a breeder of stud sheep, specializing in growing fine merino wool, and was for six years president of the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society. He became physically handicapped but maintained efficient control of station affairs. He died at Carngham on 14 July 1892 leaving an estate sworn at £219,000.
P. L. Brown, 'Russell, Thomas (1828–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/russell-thomas-4922/text7413, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 2 September 2015.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976